The United Nations detailed this week that the Islamic State (IS) has been trafficking young girls for the illegal sex trade, reported The Huffington Post.
Sierra Leonean politician and social activist Zainab Bangura visited Iraq and Syria in April as part of a UN envoy, and met with girl who had escaped the clutches of IS. The escapees recounted their horrific experiences and noted how the Islamic State would sell girls for “as little as a pack of cigarettes.”
Bangura noted how a 15-year-old girl was sold to a 50-year-old IS leader who “taunted her desire to commit suicide before raping her.”
Escaping from IS is only the beginning of these girls’ obstacles. Trauma from their horrible experiences continues to affect the young ladies, and there is little or no psychological help available. Human Rights Watch reported that Yazidi minority women suffered systematic rape and forced marriages.
“This is a war that is being fought on the bodies of women,” said Bangura. “They kidnap and abduct women when they take areas so they have – I don’t want to call it a fresh supply – but they have new girls.”
The UN reported that IS has “institutionalized sexual violence and the brutalization of women as a central aspect of their ideology and operations, using it as a tactic of terrorism to advance their key strategic objectives.” One of those tactics include recruiting new fighters.
Bangura said that foreigners looking to join IS have done so in records numbers for the last 18 months. The young women bought and sold by IS are part of the reason so many young men have joined IS.
“This is how you attract young men: we have women waiting for you, virgins that you can marry,” said Bangura.
It’s groups like IS that give Islam a bad name.